As the world has become increasingly more globalized over the past several decades, people naturally have begun to interact more with people whose background differs from their own. As the workforce evolves to match this growing diversity, many companies are developing initiatives to encourage such diversity within their own organizations. There are several benefits to building such a workforce, and while there are also problems that can come with it, those challenges are not impossible to overcome.

Benefits

There are several positive aspects to having and cultivating a diverse workforce at your organization. In addition to a broader range of experience and skills, pulling workers from several walks of life allows workers to bounce ideas back and forth with different results than working within a single culture. Also, once your organization develops a reputation for being diverse, you’ll have access to a bigger talent pool as you recruit new workers.

A Broader Range of Talents, Skills, and Creativity

As your company undergoes the executive assessments that come naturally with increased diversity, you will gain a larger pool of talents and abilities from which to draw. Workers from different backgrounds tend to have different interests. For example workers for the medical field may have focused on technology such as radiology pacs whereas other workers with a business background may have specialties in finance. As such, they will have honed their abilities in different ways. This will allow your company to more easily respond to the ever-changing market and cope with new circumstances.

Easier Recruitment

When you are searching for employees, you will have better luck if you have a reputation  as an organization that welcomes diversity. As you bring on new employees, they will also find it much easier to integrate into your workforce if there are other employees with whom they can relate. Employees who feel welcomed and understood are much more likely to stick around , which can reduce recruitment costs. Additionally, by promoting diversity in the workplace, you build your brand as an employer and increase your ability to recruit from the most qualified candidates.

Better Decisions Based On Wider Experience

A diverse workforce means a wide variety of different viewpoints. If all of your employees come from the same background and offer the same perspective, then you are bound to have some blind spots. Because a diverse workplace draws from a broad spectrum of experiences, such a team will be able to recognize pitfalls before running into them and make more informed business decisions.

Challenges

Diverse Workforce ChallengesThe road to a diverse workforce isn’t without its bumps and turns. Organizations that are hoping to benefit from this deeper talent pool will want to keep an eye out for a few challenges along the way. With a little effort, though, these obstacles can be overcome.

Communication

One of the biggest challenges that will rise up as the workforce becomes more diverse is communication. This isn’t just limited to workers who speak different languages. The same differences that allow workers to draw upon experiences that are foreign to them can also become a source of conflict. In addition to language barriers, employees will need to overcome perceptual and cultural barriers. Failure to do so can lead to confusion, low morale, and a breakdown in team cooperation.

How to Handle It:

Continually encourage openness and inclusion at your organization. Encourage all of your employees to express ideas and respond positively to input from all team members. If conflicts arise, make sure a manager steps in to mediate them as necessary, preferably not taking sides in an argument. Implement diversity training, particularly at the beginning of your diversity initiative. If your team needs a refresher course, don’t hesitate to repeat a training that they have already completed.

Also promote diversity in leadership positions. Allowing employees to feel that their concerns are represented can work wonders in assuaging frustration. As leaders are better able to communicate, lower-level employees will be more willing to do the same.

Implementation

Diverse Workforce ImplementationHuman beings are creatures of habit and naturally tend to resist change. Implementing a diversity movement, meanwhile, requires a great deal of change within an organization. There is a good chance that some of your current employees will push back against these changes because it’s different than “the way we’ve always done things.” This mindset can block new ideas and innovations and make it very difficult to get the new policies to stick.

How to Handle It:

As a part of the new initiative, include employees in its creation. When employees feel that they have had the opportunity to express their concerns and influence these new policies, it will be much easier for them to accept the changes. Explaining the reasons for the new policies can also help to assuage worries.

The workforce is becoming more diverse, and to keep up, organizations that are used to a more homogenous culture are going to need to adapt. By taking a look at your organization and recognizing how it can benefit you, you can make sure that your company proves itself to be a leader in your industry.

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Amelia Hinn is a track coach by morning, teacher by day, and recipe blogger by night. Her passion for all things chocolaty pride flows within her work and recipes. Find her on Twitter